Project Description

This butterfly-shaped pavilion served as the centrepiece of the 10th China Flower Expo and is the largest span of earth-sheltered concrete shell in China. The structural engineers adopted parametric design method to achieve the structural-architectural integration. To reduce energy consumption, facade is abandoned to increase cross ventilation. Show rooms were built into replaceable units which are detached from main structure, ensuring compatibility for future renovation.

Judge’s comments

This is a striking fusion of structural and architectural expression, achieved through an innovative structural shell structure and creative detailing to deliver an efficient, high performing and cost-effective design. 

Advanced parametric design and 3D modelling was needed to achieve the exposed concrete shell form. A pioneering ‘prestressed balanced concrete thin shell with free boundary’ system was introduced to minimise structural depth - the shell spans over 280m with minimised thickness of 250mm minimising material requirements. 

An impressive design and intelligent use of concrete to create a very lightweight slim shell structure. 

Project overview

Structural Designer

  • East China Architectural Design & Research Institute

Client Name

  • Guangming Eco Island Investment Development Co Ltd


  • Shanghai, China


  • East China Architectural Design & Research Institute

Principal Contractor

  • Shanghai Construction Group

Key Contractors

  • Shanghai Mechanized Construction Group Co., Ltd. – Fabrication and Erection of Steel Structures 

    ARCPUS SXADL – Landscape

    Shanghai Research Institute of Building Sciences Co., Ltd. – Green Building Consulting

Year Submitted

  • 2022

Key attributes

  • Process